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By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Jimmy Story, Missouri Enterprise Business Programs Manager that serves the state’s agriculture growers and producers, recently attended a graduation ceremony for eight individuals who completed a workforce training program and hope to soon be employed following the completion of their time at the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Mo.

Missouri Enterprise, the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership center, teamed up with the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Missouri Department of Labor, Lincoln University, Mid-America Food & Hub Training Center, the Division of Workforce Development, the Workforce Development Board of Southeast Missouri and the area Missouri Job Center to develop a 12-week training course focused on the agriculture industry.

“It was a very proud moment for me. As a training provider, I had the opportunity to work with them and I appreciate the efforts they made to learn the materials and demonstrate their newly attained knowledge,” said Jimmy. “They are excited about having a set of skills that will lead to a career and soon, to a new life.”

Over the last few months, the participants learned about planting and harvesting, horticulture, greenhouses, safety, and other applicable skills that will help them secure jobs with area farms following their prison sentence. Several area employers have already committed to hiring these graduates.

At the ceremony, the Charleston Warden, Jason Lewis, paid tribute to all the participating partners, including Missouri Enterprise. Sue Baird of the Mid-America Food & Hub Training Center, based in Pilot Grove, recognized Missouri Enterprise’s contribution of providing the OSHA training portion of the curriculum.

The partnership is looking into engaging in similar operations with other correctional facilities. The Warden commented that this will be an ongoing training program and it is only the beginning.

“Missouri Enterprise looks forward to participating and supporting this tremendous program, which is a win for these individuals, a win for the state, and a win for the employers who will benefit from these workers,” said Jimmy.

Pictured here from left to right: Jason Lewis, Warden of Charleston Correctional Facility, Alana Boyles, Director of Adult Institutions of the Missouri Department of Corrections, Jimmy Story Missouri Enterprise Business Programs Manager